Terwinghe grew up in Belgium. She reached her full adult height at age 14, and stated she was uncomfortable with her tall stature due to teasing from peers. She expressed an interest in modeling in her teens, and cut her hair short to help achieve a unique image.
Terwinghe walked the runway for Gianfranco Ferré, Ralph Lauren, Complice, Krizia, Max Mara, and Industria in the early 1990s. She also modeled for a large number of advertisements, including those for Armani, Anne Klein, Chico's, Dior, Lancaster, Nautica, and Pierre Balmain. Some of her most prestigious and successful advertisement modeling work was for cosmetic house Revlon in one of the famous "Unforgettable Women" advertisements photographed by Richard Avedon. Terwinghe appeared alongside fellow models Cordula Reyer, Michaela Bercu, and Carré Otis for the print ad. Terwinghe later became a spokesmodel for cosmetic house Helena Rubinstein. Another high-profile endorsement of Fabienne Terwinghe's was for lingerie, fashion, and beauty brand Victoria's Secret. She was also the cover subject for the American and Italian editions of Elle, the Italian edition of Marie Claire, and the Spanish edition of Vogue.
In 1989 she appeared in New Order's video Round & Round
In 1994, with fellow models Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Heather Stewart-Whyte and Emma Wiklund, Terwinghe posed nude in a PETA anti-fur ad. Terwinghe has stated that throughout her modeling career, she has refused to pose wearing fur.
- "Fabienne Terwinghe profile on FMD". Fashion Model Directory. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
- Pener, Degen (May 16, 1993). "Rising Above the Slights of Youth". New York Times.
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